And guess who’s got a ticket??? 😀
Yeppers, and we couldn’t be more excited! The California Wine Fair tour, which shows off the best of California wines from the Napa, Sonoma, and other Californian regions of which you’ve not yet heard, begins its cross-Canada tour in Quebec City March 28, comes to Montreal on the 30th, Ottawa the 31st, and hop-scotches on to Toronto (April 3), Halifax (April 5), Vancouver (April 24), and Calgary (April 25).
Tickets for the evening event are $75 per person and available by visiting www.calwine.ca . The evening event is in support of the Sommelier Certificate Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
The Westin Ottawa, Confederation Ballroom, 11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa.
Trade tastings are in the afternoons, and the fairs are open to the public in the evenings, $75 a ticket. Reserve well in advance, because these events are slammed with people, for good reason. Don’t forget you’ll probably want to cab it home, even if you’re just having tastes. There is a lot of wine to get through, over 350 different wines, and you will not be able to taste everything you want to, simply because there is so much of everything, and wine people are so convivial you want to stay and chat with each of them for hours. You’ll also likely run into dozens of people you know (I won’t, since I’m new here, but hey, great friendships often start over wine, don’t they?). Wear shoes you can walk and stand in for a couple of hours. You will not be able to nip in and out quickly; again, there’s just too much going on. Throw yourself into it, though, and you’ll probably have a really memorable experience.
I attended a few years ago in Vancouver as the plus one of Raul Pacheco-Vega, and had both a lovely time and a really eye-opening education on California wines. Given the limited selections available in most Canadian liquor stores, this is THE one chance a year you’ll have to try many of these wines, and if you are an enthusiast you should not miss it.
I’d been hearing raves about a particular Coppola wine from an American friend of mine for years. Well, I tried it at the California Wine Fair thinking “okay, I’ll tick that box and then he’ll stop bothering me” but I shouldn’t have, because it was so good I keep looking for it wherever I go, and it’s not cheap! It has, however, become my default gift bottle, and everyone seems quite pleased to get it. I just wish they’d open it while I’m around…
but I’m over that. It’s okay. I’ve healed and moved on.
So, anyway, I’m psyched to get out to an actual grown up wine event in Ontario, as those are pretty thin on the ground through the winter (although this past weekend there was a sugar bush barn dance at one winery and no, sugar bush doesn’t mean what you think it does, you dirty, dirty blog reader!).
If you’re interested in the California Wine Fair, download the whole brochure as a PDF here. As usual, I’m expecting to take several dozen crap photographs and have a hangover the next day, so bear with me if it takes awhile to get a post-event post up. Now I have Prisma, so I might convert them from Crappy iPhone Shots to Great Art with a few clicks, you never know.